Can this become a Gopher football town instead of Vikings?

MNVCGUY

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I have always said the Gophers shouldn't even try to compete with the Vikings. The Vikings have a massive fan base and that isn't going to change no matter how many championships the Gophers win.

But, it isn't required. There is room for both. The Gophers built up a lot of believers and created a lot of fans this season. There is no reason why that can't continue. The Gophers have had TCF Bank Stadium sold out with a full load of season ticket holders in the past (with no 'hit' to the Vikings fan base), and they can do it again - all regardless of how popular the Vikings are.

I have also said the Gophers shouldn't market themselves as a competitor of the Vikings. The Gophers should build their gameday to be different than the Vikings to offer an alternative. Some of these differences are built in: It is the college game, college rules, student sections, marching bands, etc. etc. But, there is room to push the city to expand tailgating opportunities and with both Stadium Village and Dinkytown close by: there can be a vibrant game day bar and tailgating scene within easy walking distance of the stadium. This is something the Vikings can't offer. Play up to the strengths. If the intent is to simply offer "NFL-Jr." the Gophers won't make much headway, in my opinion.
Well said. This season proved the two can co-exist and both get a ton of attention in this market.

I don't think anyone at the U would be foolish enough to even try and market themselves as a competitor to the Vikings because the NFL has such a huge following. Minnesotans love football and winners, if the Gophers start winning on a regular basis there is plenty of interest out there for both programs to succeed in this market.

One thing Fleck has really done is embrace the relationship with the pro teams. Hasn't been a ton of direct connection with the Vikings but Fleck and Ryan Saunders seem to be very close and have promoted each others teams a fair amount. There was also the video of the Wild players rowing the boat at one of their practices.
 

Veritas

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In the long run, No.

This is a golden age of Gopher football and for that I am very happy, but in the long run the Gophers, unlike the Vikings are at a clear and demonstrable disadvantage to other P5 programs. The NFL has clear, mandated equality. Each team has a very close to equal chance to win three, four, five, six, seven, etc. years down the road from most every other team. The draft heavily favors the weak, free agency allows teams to buy needed players, etc. The CFP has worsened an already huge disparity in college football and it will only get worse in the years ahead. Without Fleck or his clone we would get burried in eternal "hope for 6-3 in the Big Ten" land.

I also agree that many fans in MN are graduates of other schools and have other college loyalties.

Personally, I have given up on the NFL entirely and did not watch any games this season or the last four. Too mercenary, too hyped, too gladitorial, too "circus in town" culture, New York ownership, media bought, etc. Do any of those guys live here? What is Minnesota about the Vikings, at all? Nothing.
 

4four4

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The NFL would never allow it. With their economic power and minutia control, they have the average Viking fan thinking that they are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Instead, they are in a group that consists of: Arizona, Detroit, Atlanta, Carolina, the Chargers, Cincinnati, Cleveland II, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Houston II. Quite a pool of success, eh?

Bottom 1/3.
Wow, who would have thought according to Wiki the Vikings would have the seventh highest winning percentage in all of pro football. They are historicially a playoff team who hasn't been able to get over the hump and are no where near the bottom third of the NFL.
 

tmvander

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This town likes to cheer for winning teams. There are a LOT of soft bandwagon type fans who kind of follow teams until they do really well.

If the Vikings turn into the Detroit Lions and spend 20 years making the playoffs once or twice, finish last every year, have constant injury issues, off the field problems, etc. while the gophers sustain multiple years of winning or contending for the west...sure, gophers could become more popular.
 

4four4

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IMO, the Gophers and Vikings can co-exist but it all comes down to winning consistently. If teams in this market don't they will move on to another team.
 

Ski U Mah Gopher

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We will never be a "Gopher Town"

much like---

Seattle will never be a "Huskie Town"

That being said, the relationship between the U and the pro teams are getting better everyday:

Gophers throwing out 1st pitches at Twins games
Gophers doing the "Let's Play Hockey" at Wild games
Gophers blowing the Gjallarhorn at Vikings games
 

Bad Gopher

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Yeah kinda. It's gold on one side and maroon on the other. Going from memory it has Goldy and the word Minnesota on it. The way it was dyed has one side reversed and one side normal. Fleece I think is the fabric. Goldy is running with that mean grin. I also have a plastic juice pitcher that's gold with the same maroon mean Goldy running on it.
That's the one I have! Got it for the family as a group Christmas gift a number of years ago; next thing I know, my daughter had absconded with it for her campus housing at the U. She's back for now, as is it.
 

MNfootballfan

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This town likes to cheer for winning teams. There are a LOT of soft bandwagon type fans who kind of follow teams until they do really well.

If the Vikings turn into the Detroit Lions and spend 20 years making the playoffs once or twice, finish last every year, have constant injury issues, off the field problems, etc. while the gophers sustain multiple years of winning or contending for the west...sure, gophers could become more popular.
I think a better way to say it is there are a lot of teams in this town so it is easy to jump from the Wolves to the Wild to the Gophers to the Twins to the Vikings, etc.

Most towns don't have the high level (professional and major college sports) in one town like we do. It is bandwagon, but few casual fans will follow teams if they are not winning.

I think to answer the original question... Minnesota football can actually make a footprint a cement themselves in the top 2. Me personally, on Saturday's I am all Gophers and on Sunday's I am all Vikings. Monday through Friday I am probably more of a fan of whatever team is playing better. That is probably the best case scenario.
 

BilldGopher

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That's the one I have! Got it for the family as a group Christmas gift a number of years ago; next thing I know, my daughter had absconded with it for her campus housing at the U. She's back for now, as is it.
Cool. I'm always on the lookout for this Goldy-type stuff. This was a Holz-era Goldy that only lasted one year. Since Coach is into restoring stuff, maybe he should restore this version for our honored mascot?
 

holereader

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Yes - it happened this year briefly. I'm a 23 year Viking season ticket holder and I have gravitated towards the Gophers more and more these last few years....College football is addicting - if the Gophers start winning at a high level consistently it will be a Gophers Town
Detroit manages the Lions and univ of Michigan just fine - I lived there for many years and both have full support - you can even throw Michigan state into that mix - granted the lions have been generationally bad but their fan base is really passionate and loyal
 

gopherdudepart2

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I used to primarily Vikings fan with gophers secondary, but have switched. I now prefer college football as a whole over NFL, but don't see gophers being number one in this market
Same as Salzie I am a much bigger College and Gopher football fan now than growing up when the NFL was king.
 

gopherdudepart2

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I always love that one.
Only delusional Vikings fans think they are close to the Super Bowl. They are as close to the Super Bowl as the Browns are with the current roster construction and they have a lousy quarterback with a weak offensive line and an old defense. It has been 43 year since the Vikings last played in a Sujper Bowl and many still act like it was just yesterday. Only 1998 and 2009 were they ever really close and both season's they choked it away with some of the best players I have seen on the VIkings in my lifetime.
 

WoodburyTim

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Gopher fan more than Viking fan here, but Gophers will never surpass Vikings.
 

Nax5

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If the Gophers can win a National Championship before the Vikings win the Superbowl...Then maybe.
 

howeda7

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The NFL would never allow it. With their economic power and minutia control, they have the average Viking fan thinking that they are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Instead, they are in a group that consists of: Arizona, Detroit, Atlanta, Carolina, the Chargers, Cincinnati, Cleveland II, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Houston II. Quite a pool of success, eh?

Bottom 1/3.
The NFL is controlling our thoughts, eh?
 

howeda7

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The average Vikings game gets a 30 rating on TV. The average Gopher game gets a 5 or 6. Big games like Penn State surged up a 12. A huge increase. That's awesome. But still less than half a run of the mill Vikings game. So the answer is no.
 

rpgopherfan

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Yes, if the gophers get the Axe, the Pig and the Jug, that way I could use the Axe to slay the Pig and wash it down with a drink out of the Jug. It wouldn't hurt that I would be sitting in the broken chair and ringing the governors bell as well.
 

builtbadgers

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I think this coming season the Gophers have the potential to become much more popular than they have been in a long time. Here's a half-dozen reasons:
  1. Pretty much no one is interested in NFL preseason games, especially the third and fourth games where starters don't play. During those last two weeks of preseason ball, the Gophers play Iowa and BYU. There will be by far more interest in the Gopher games, and if they win, that bandwagon will continue during the season. An undefeated Gopher team that just won the Pig and follows it up by beating BYU is going to carry a lot of fan momentum into the rest of the season.
  2. The Gopher's won their last game of the season with an exiting game, the Viking lost with a game that was pretty awful to watch.
  3. The NFL keeps making decisions that alienate a lot of fans (e.g., kneeling before games) -- fans tune out as a result of that.
  4. There's a growing sentiment that NFL players (not all, but enough to make a difference) are "jerks" in some fashion versus role models. High paid "jerks" make fans tune out. The Gophers for now anyways have a nice "we're role models" image going for them. I think that plays well to Minnesota's fan base.
  5. The NFL rules are causing fans to lose interest in the game, such as you basically can't tackle the quarterback anymore, all the lengthy reviews of pass interference after plays, etc. In the NFL it seems the refs have a much larger impact on who ends up winning.
  6. People are coming round to buying into PJ. Reusse's negative view is getting shot down, and people are starting to Row.
There's a lot more -- the tradition, game day tailgating, marching bands, etc. The Vikings certainly will have a strong following, but Minnesota's large enough to support both teams really well.
Win and the support will be there. Hell, UW and Green bay sell 80,000 seats for games. UW had a ton of games with less than 50,000 pre Alvarez.
 

builtbadgers

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I think a better way to say it is there are a lot of teams in this town so it is easy to jump from the Wolves to the Wild to the Gophers to the Twins to the Vikings, etc.

Most towns don't have the high level (professional and major college sports) in one town like we do. It is bandwagon, but few casual fans will follow teams if they are not winning.

I think to answer the original question... Minnesota football can actually make a footprint a cement themselves in the top 2. Me personally, on Saturday's I am all Gophers and on Sunday's I am all Vikings. Monday through Friday I am probably more of a fan of whatever team is playing better. That is probably the best case scenario.
Wolves are dead.
 

highwayman

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Ski U Master

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No Super Bowl wins. That is the common factor. Only 12 teams have not. 54 years, tied for last. IMO that is failure.
The Gophers haven't won a single national championship in the same time frame. I guess that's complete failure too?
 

Mitu

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I’m sure the point has been made elsewhere, but it will take sustained success from the Gophers to grab mindshare here. However, there are loads of bandwagoners and casual fans who will start perking up if that happens.

I agree that CFB doesn’t have the same level of parity potential as the NFL. However, I frankly dont know if that matters given that the Vikings have never won a SB. I was raised as a Steelers fan and it was NOT fun until we finally got to 2005 and snagged our first SB in 25 years. I’m shocked the Vikings faithful show up week after week when your only connection is geographic (rather than the deeper alma mater bonds of college).
 

EG#9

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I know one sports fan in my life who isn't a fan of both a college team and a pro football team. That person has a college team they root for, but still follows the NFL, plays fantasy football, etc. There is plenty of room for both the Gophers and the Vikings in the state of Minnesota. There are states that make 2 NFL teams and a college team work like Pennsylvania.

You'd have to be an extremely casual viewer of the NFL to not realize the Vikings are a significantly above average franchise. The playoff failures have been immense and the inability to find/draft a franchise quarterback since Fran (way before my time) has been a large part of that. If the Vikings had an owner that would spend during the Moss era, they'd have a Lombardi or two, but they were run like the Oakland Raiders in Al Davis last years during that time.

Imagine if the Vikings not only didn't win consistently but lost to the Packers every time they played them and the Bears at least 3 out of every 4 games for a period of 15 years or more. That's basically been Gopher football. This was the best Gopher football team in 50 years and it still featured losses to Iowa that ended a perfect season and Wisconsin that lost a B1G West title and a Rose Bowl berth. The relative success of the football teams in the Twin Cities has not been close for a long, long time which is part of the reason why the Vikings have a larger fan base (the NFL simply being more popular than college football is another).

I hope the Gophers breaking through this year encourages more Minnesota football fans to root for the Gophers. I think I'd be more happy to see the Gophers win a National Title than to see the Vikings win a Super Bowl, but I'd be ecstatic for either. It's Ski U Mah on Saturdays and Skol on Sundays for me and I assume many others.
 

gophernut1

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How to become a Gopher Town:

Create a culture that integrates service, community and creating great young men that is counter to the mescaline culture associated with the sport -- DONE

Start winning on a regular basis - ALMOST DONE

Create a game day experience that is affordable/cheap for the common person - NOT THERE

Demonstrate that the Football team winning helps create a better U of M and hence a better state - NOT THERE

Get close or even will a championship - ???

I believe MN would start cheering for the exact program that Fleck is trying to build. Creating an affordable and great game day experience will help. Getting the messageing that help people understand that supporting the Gophers creates a better MN would help as well. One things Minnesotans love is cheering for "one of us." Still, think Vikings will rule the roost in a lot of ways, be there is no reason this could not be a college football town as well.
 

Gold Rush

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Loved reading all the great posts on here and many of you had some great points! The Gophers may never be the #1 sports team or even the #1 football team around here and that really doesn't matter. But it IS catching fire here and there are more and more people getting very excited about the team and that is what I care the most about. It sure is fun to see the excitement building - people having fun on GameDay and at the games. I am hearing a lot more people talking about it at work and around town and they are becoming more knowledgeable about the team. I am starting to see a lot more maroon and gold around the town, too!

The people in this town are starving for a great team to get behind. The Vikings have their flaws that will prohibit them from getting to the next level and the Twins are simply too stingy to do what they would need to do to get to the next level. The Wild have peaked and are getting old, and the Timberwolves are a disaster. I think fans are looking for something like the Gopher football team that can take this area by storm. Hopefully, we gain more fans that will grow from being casual fans to die hards like most of us on this board!

We have a good thing going but we will need to sustain it with good coaching and recruiting classes and this is being done. We are very close to one of the big boys taking at run at PJ Fleck - definitely in the next year or two and then we will know if Fleck is staying to build a dynasty here or if we will need to start all over with someone else. If Fleck leaves, it will short circuit what could become a huge wave of momentum. I really hope we can hang onto him because things are looking very good right now!
 
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